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Kudos for Cavuto
Fox has picked up Krugman's nasty scent . . . plus: KARS is for real.


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Donald L. Luskin

All hail the newest member of the Krugman Truth Squad — Fox News’s Neil Cavuto.

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Paul Krugman took at shot at Cavuto in his Tuesday column in the New York Times — and Cavuto shot back with what can only be described as a generous serving of good old fashioned shock and awe. Krugman wrote,

both the formal rules and the codes of ethics that formerly prevented blatant partisanship are gone or ignored. Neil Cavuto of Fox News is an anchor, not a commentator. Yet after Baghdad’s fall he told “those who opposed the liberation of Iraq” — a large minority — that “you were sickening then, you are sickening now.” Fair and balanced.

Richard Zimmerman, a Fox spokesperson, told me that “Neil’s statement was made during his daily ‘Common Sense’ commentary segment, and labeled as such.” But Cavuto himself got to the point just a bit more forcefully:

Exactly who’s the hypocrite, Mr. Krugman? Me, for expressing my views in a designated segment at the end of the show? Or you, for not so cleverly masking your own biases against the war in a cheaply written column? . . . I’d much rather put my cards on the table and let people know where I stand in a clear editorial, than insidiously imply it in what’s supposed to be a straight news story. And by the way, you sanctimonious twit, no one — no one — tells me what to say. I say it. And I write it. And no one lectures me on it. Save you, you pretentious charlatan. . . . Now may I suggest you take your column and shove it?

Cavuto could have gone further. He could have — and should have — blasted Krugman for daring to preach about “codes of ethics” at a time when the reputation of the New York Times has been shattered by revelations of pervasive negligence that permitted the journalistic fraud of its reporter Jayson Blair. And he could have — and should have — blasted Krugman for daring to preach about “blatant partisanship,” when Krugman himself is easily among the most relentlessly partisan journalists in America.

Oh — of course — there’s then the matter of Krugman’s truthfulness, or lack thereof. Krugman began his Tuesday column by stating that “during the Iraq war . . . many Americans turned to the BBC for their TV news. They were looking for an alternative point of view — something they couldn’t find on domestic networks.”

The truth is that during the war many Americans turned away from the BBC. Fox’s Zimmerman provided me with authoritative Nielsen stats that show BBC-America’s primetime audience falling from 93,000 households in February to 88,000 in March. At the same time, the audience for Fox nearly doubled from 1.7 million to 3.2 million.

Americans weren’t the only ones to drift away from the BBC. Krugman Truth Squad member Matthew Hoy reminded us on his blog, Hoystory.com, that the “crew of the British aircraft carrier Ark Royal turned off the BBC and switched to Rupert Murdoch’s Sky News.” That’s right, the same Rupert Murdoch whose News Corporation owns Fox. Hoy continued: “According to a ‘senior rating’ on the Ark Royal: ‘The BBC always takes the Iraqis’ side. It reports what they say as gospel but when it comes to us it questions and doubts everything the British and Americans are reporting. A lot of people on board are very unhappy.’”

As I pointed out on my blog, The Conspiracy to Keep You Poor and Stupid, Krugman not only lied about the growth of the BBC’s audience, he omitted to mention the decline in the New York Times’s own audience. According to a recent audit, circulation at the Times has fallen 5.3 percent year-on-year for the six months ending in March, and is down 6.3 percent for the same period at the Boston Globe, a sister publication of the Times. However, the New York Post — yes, the newspaper owned by Rupert Murdoch — saw its circulation rise 10.2 percent during this period.

Krugman’s lies mask, in the short-run, the brute fact that audiences are voting with their eyeballs. They’re gradually turning from the systematic liberal bias of the mainstream media — and columns like Krugman’s. But America’s most dangerous liberal pundit has a long-run strategy: to take away the audience’s right to vote by converting media to state control. Here’s his rationale:

Through its policy decisions — especially, though not only, decisions involving media regulation — the U.S. government can reward media companies that please it, punish those that don’t. . . . Yet because the networks aren’t government-owned, they aren’t subject to the kind of scrutiny faced by the BBC, which must take care not to seem like a tool of the ruling party.

Krugman Truth Squad member David Hogberg got it right on his blog, Cornfield Commentary, plainly nailing Krugman’s twisted logic:

The reductio ad absurdum of Krugman’s argument is a media organization that receives its funding from the government is freer from government influence than those media organizations that are merely regulated by the government. I’m not going to bother explaining what’s wrong with that as it should be obvious.

Yep. It’s something only an Ivy League economist could have come up with. And something only the New York Times would be shameless enough to run.

Yet there seems no stopping the continued spread of KARS — Krugman Adaptive Repetition Syndrome. Even though the Truth Squad thoroughly exposed Krugman’s April 22 lie that President Bush’s proposed tax cuts would cost $500,000 for each new $40,000 job they created (although the cost of the tax cut is spread over ten years and the $40,000 wage is for a single year), that lie continues to be parroted by liberals in the media.

Ex-officio Truth Squad members Dave Ogilvy, David Bethune, and Ken Crosson all sent me e-mails noting that the lie was repeated in E. J. Dionne, Jr.’s column in the Washington Post Monday. Dionne cited as his source last week’s New Yorker column by David Cassidy, which the Truth Squad exposed on NRO last week.

Now follow the liberal relay race: The New Yorker repeated a lie from Krugman’s New York Times column, and then the Washington Post repeated the same lie citing the New Yorker. As Cassidy didn’t have the plain decency to name Krugman as his source, Dionne certainly didn’t have to when he took the baton. The best part of it is that Dionne’s Post column discussed how the Bush administration would “say anything” to promote its tax cuts.

A new member of the Krugman Truth Squad — my NRO colleague Ramesh Ponnuru — caught the lie repeated yet again on Monday, by no less a truth-seeker than Ralph Nader on CNN’s Crossfire. Here’s Nader talking to an ever-vigilant Robert Novak:

NADER: His own economy adviser says the tax cut will create 1.4 million jobs. Most economists think that’s a wild exaggeration. But even taking that figure, it amounts to half a million dollars per job . . .

NOVAK: Now that’s funny math.

NADER: No, it’s not funny math at all.

NOVAK: You’re taking jobs in one year as against the tax cut over 10 years.

NADER: And look, let’s face it, the top 10 percent of the income earners in this country get the lion’s share.

In case that Corvair was going too fast for you to see the tires spin, that was Liberal Media Rule Number Four in action: When caught in a lie, change the subject to class warfare. Works every time.

So, why won’t KARS die out? Because Patient Zero won’t let it. Krugman has now published on his personal website no less than ten increasingly desperate responses to our exposés (spread across eight postings: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven and eight.

His latest defense cited a September, 2001, article he wrote for the New York Times Magazine. It discusses the economic concept of the “liquidity trap” — a critical link in the elaborate chain of reasoning designed to justify his April 22 lie. Some defense. In the article he warned that, thanks to the “liquidity trap,” the U.S. was at imminent risk of sliding into a Japan-like depression. Oops! Just three months after the article ran the U.S.’s short recession ended with a burst of renewed GDP growth and a turnaround in corporate earnings. He also warned that Japan’s chronic deficits — like the ones he fretted would occur in the U.S. — would cause its creditors to balk and interest rates to rise. Oops again! Since the article, Japan’s long-term interest rates have fallen by approximately half.

Professor Krugman’s self-evaluation of that article? “Oh, and by the way, I think the piece, published in Sept. 2001, still looks pretty much on target.” Just what target is he talking about? The one labeled “DEAD BLOODY WRONG”?



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